Industrial casters are wheel assemblies that are attached to the bottoms of industrial furniture legs to provide mobility and shock absorption. They are used on chairs, tables and storage racks in schools, hospitals, banquet halls, restaurants, retail stores, truck garages and industrial manufacturing plants and warehouses.
A caster is any tool that, when affixed to an object, allows for the mobility of that object. The word "caster" is often used interchangeably with the word "wheel," though they are not entirely synonymous. Casters can also be constructed of ball bearings, as is the case with ball bearing casters. Ball bearing casters are used in industrial contexts in which wheel casters are not appropriate. Otherwise, most casters involve some kind of wheel. In industrial settings, as in commercial and consumer products settings, casters are regularly affixed to furniture, moving storage containers like tool chests and a wide variety of other objects. In hospitals, homes, offices, warehouses, manufacturing facilities, schools, theaters and all manner of other settings, casters can be found mounted on the legs of hospital gurneys, lighting equipment, chairs and countless other objects. These casters can be made out of a wide variety of materials, depending on the demands of their application.
Industrial casters are often fabricated from stamped steel housings and brackets, aluminum or cast iron wheel centers and axle nuts and thermoplastic rubber or tread polyurethane caster wheels. Some caster assemblies are two-wheeled, providing a broader, more stable support for heavy equipment. Medical and hospital furniture casters are medium-duty with soft rubber or polyamide wheels and polypro injection molded housings for smooth, quiet operation. Office and household chair casters are made from lower-duty thermoplastic materials, although bed casters typically have strong metal housings. Carefully selecting the appropriate industrial caster configuration and construction material is essential. In an industrial setting, failure of a caster could result in the instability of attached objects. In the case of hospital beds or other healthcare equipment, this could result in injury to patients, contamination of common spaces or other very serious hazards. In the case of a manufacturing facility, unstable heavy machinery could fall and cause worker injury and product loss. Considerations for caster load, composition and other similar factors must be thorough in advance of a caster's application. Assuming these provisions are made, most caster varieties should prove to be valuable, long lasting assets to their users.